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The Thoreau Society, Inc. is an
informal gathering of students and
followers of Henry David Thoreau.
Albert Bussewitz, Milton Mass.,
President; Robert Needham, Concord
Mass., Vice-President; and Walter
Harding, State University, Geneseo
N.Y. 1.44-54, Secretary-Treasurer.
Annual membership, $2.00; life member-
ship, $50.00. Address communications
to the secretary.
BULLETIN ONE HUNDRED THIRTEEN
FURTHER OBSERVATIONS ON THOREAU' S USE OF THE COAT-
by Douglas A. Noverr
David C. Hotch's article in the Winter, 1970 TSB
(Concord's Coat of Arms) indicated Thoreau' s pro-
bable ironic use of the proposed coat-i^f-arms or
heraldio device for the town of Concord in the "Con-
cord River" chapter of A Week .
In his Journals Thoreau recorded at least three
other examples of proposed coat-of-arms, two' of
which were related to himself and the other to the
town of Hull, Massachusetts.
In his Journal entry for August 30, 1851 (Journal .
II, 432-33) Thoreau states:
One of these drooping clusters of potato balls
would be as good a symbol, emblem, of the year's
fertility as anything, — better surely £han a
bunch of grapes. Fruit of the strong soil, con-
taining potash (?).... Why not for, my coat-of-arms,
for device, a dropping cluster of potato balls, —
in a potato field?
The hardiness and abundancy of the potato ball plants
are further compared to the grape crop which supplies
It seemed to me that the year had nothing so much
to brag of as these potato balls. Do they not
concern New-Englanders a thousand times more than
all her grapes? In Moore's new field they grow,
cultivated with the bog hoe, manured with ashes
and sphagnum. How they take to the virgin soil!
The "drooping cluster of potato balls" "in a potato
field" suggests, or would symbolize, Thoreau' s desire
to be rooted in the soil, hardy and bearing fruit
with only rude cultivation. The heraldic emblem
is notably anti -heroic, suggesting a family or in-
dividual connection with the common, undistinguished
products of the land.
The other coat-of-arms Thoreau thought appropriate
to himself was a "scrub oak." In his Journal for
January 7, 1857 (IX, 207, 210) he wrote: "I should
not be ashamed to have a scrub oak for my coat-of-
arms." In this same entry he also records the com-
panionship offered by a particular stand of scrub
In a caucus, a meeting-house, a lyceum, a clubroom,
there is nothing like it in my experience. But
away out of the town, on Brown's scrub oak lot,
which was sold the other day for six dollars an
acre, I have company such as England cannot buy,
nor afford. This society is what I live, what I
survey for. I subscribe generously to this — all
that I have and am.
Here again the scrub oak is an anti -heroic image,
implying a connection with an unstately and stunted
tree — a kind of natural starkness. But the stand
of scrub oak also symbolizes solitude, tenacity and
strength, and the only company really worth anything
— oneself, unpretentious and alone. The scrub oak
is not worth much commercially, but its value to
the spirit is infinite.
In writing about Hull, Massachusetts, Thoreau
records the voracious nibbling of the sea at the
shoreline. He noted that "the fantastic shore of
a small island (Hog Island) inside of Hull, where
everything seemed to be gently lapsing into futur-
ity, as if the inhabitants should bear a ripple for
device on their coat-of-arms, a wave passing over
them, with the datura growing on their shores."
(Thoreau' s line drawings of the island and a ripple
omitted). (Journal . July 25, 1851, 3-44-45).
Here the emblematic design ("the device") would
be a "ripple" to show how the ocean claims the land
and the natural elements of the shore — the "datura,"
which could be strong-scented herbs, scrubs, or
trees of the nightshade family. This coat-of-arms
also symbolizes, visually and dramatically, the
powerful claiming forces of nature and time. Thoreau
shows this in a detail following the passage quoted
above, concerning the ripple as a heraldic device.
A man at the telegraph told me of a white oak pole
a foot and a half in diameter, forty feet high,
and four feet or more in rock at Minot's Lodge,
with four guys, which stood only one year. Stpne
piled up cob-fashion near the same place stood
eight years. (II, 3-45)
Thoreau' s other three uses' of the coat-of-arms
image and symbol shows his highly visual imagination
and his ability to catch a complex of meanings and
associations in a single image (as a heraldic "de-
vice" must do for a coat-of-arms) . The two personal
coats-of-arms are, in a sense, ironic; for they
imply an exterior which appears to have little color
or dignified, noble associations. But to Thoreau,
the "drooping cluster of potato balls in a potato
field" and the "scrub oak" mean a great deal in a
personal and imaginative sense. As has been noted,
the two are anti -heraldic devices, ironically imply-
ing that the surface of something cannot possibly
represent what the "device" and heraldic "field"
actually mean. And, also ironically, the two per-
sonal coats-of-arms do not connect Thoreau with any
family or tradition; they connect him .with nature
and the life of rich, meaningful solitude in nature.
All three examples show Thoreau's visual and symbolic
imagination and his interest in catching a complex
of meanings and implications in a single object.
REPORT FROM THE CONCORD WALKING SOCIETY:
BIRCH CELLAR HOLE by Mary Fenn
The main artery in the Estabrook Country, if we
may distinguish a grass-grown cart track by such a
name, is the Old Carlisle Road. It leads from Con-
cord straight north through the woods to Carlisle,
past the lime kiln, the lime quarries, Boulder Field
and its moraine, the Estabrook cellar hole, the in-
distinguishable road in to the Kibbe Place, and so
to the IsaiahGreen place in Carlisle which is the
only house in the area still standing and indeed
Another road, which is even more of a footpath and
not even passable in a jeep, parallels the Old Car-
lisle Road to the east. It goes past Punketasset
Hill, Yellow Birch Swamp, Ebby Hubbard's Hill, and
crosses a brook on one of those low stone bridges
built by ox team a couple of centuries ago. At one
time it continued north, passing the very doorstep
of the Kibbe farm and ending at Isaiah Green's by
way of his lower pasture. Only sharp eyes can fol-
low it in this direction today. But a more travelled
branch, kept open by horseback riders, makes an
abrupt turn to the left and comes out on the Old
Carlisle Road above the Estabrook Place.
One of the pleasures of the Walking Society has
been discovering the actual places which Thoreau
mentioned in his walks. One of these whose location
has remained a complete mystery to us, has been the
Yellow Birch Cellar Hole.
Thoreau spoke many times of that cellar hole
northwest of Yellow Birch Swamp, with the great tree
growing out of it. A man named Flint had started
to build a house there and had framed it before de-
ciding to live down by the river instead. There was
a swamp in back of it. Sometimes Thoreau approached
it from the Old Carlisle Road, and sometimes from
Punketasset. A letter written by the Bartlett sis-
ters well over 100 years ago mentioned walking out
the Old Carlisle Road to Yellow Birch Cellar Hole.
It seems incredible that a place so well-known in
Concord only a generation or two ago should be com-
pletely unknown today by even our oldest inhabitants,
but this was the case.
Since we had spent many days searching almost every
foot of ground northwest of Yellow Birch Swamp, we
were convinced that the cellar hole must be somewhere
along the footpath between the stone bridge and the
Old Carlisle Road. It would be highly improbable that
we could plunge into a large wooded area at random
and discover one small site, but we could try. Once
more we entered the woods looking for breaks in stone
walls where a road might once have gone through,
and particularly investigating any higher ground which
a prudent housebuilder might select to insure a dry
cellar. We came across a large bed of lily of the
valley, surely a sign of civilization, but no cellar
hole was near it ... quite a mystery. In another
place we found several pieces of cut granite. One
encouraging sign was the presence of yellow birch
trees here and there, grown up amid the struggling
cedars and juniper bushes which bespoke former
Then we entered one of those inexplicable places
sometimes seen in the midst of woods which resemble
a park with great pines towering above the lower
growth. As we penetrated deeper, the land began to
rise, and there on its height, with a swamp directly
behind it, was a cellar hole ... a large one at that,
and what's more there were yellow birch trees grow-
ing out of it. We could hardly believe that after
all our searching, map study, and combing through
the Journals to find references to it, that we had
at last found this elusive spot ... the Yellow
Birch Cellar Hole.
Foundation stones were visible here and there,
the sloping sides were covered with ferns and
rattlesnake plantain, there were a couple of fresh
foxholes, nearby a ditch had once been dug though
we found no well, and at the edge of the swamp an
old stone wall ran along through the woods.
Now at last we can follow in Thoreau's foot-
steps a century and a quarter later, and walk as
he did through the beautiful Concord woods to the
Yellow Birch Cellar Hole.
ADDITIONS TO THE THOREAU BIBLIOGRAPHY
. . WH
Arendt, Hannah. "Reflections: Civil Disobedience,"
New Yorker . Sept. 12, 1970. pp.. 70-105
Baldwin, Henry I. Monadnock Guide . Concord, N.H.
[58 State St.]: Society for Protection of N.H.
Forests, 1970. 128pp. $2.00. This handy little
pocket guide to Thoreau's favorite mountain is
absolutely essential to anyone who wants to
climb that mountain. It not only maps and de-
scribes all trails and all points of interest,
but also covers the history, geology, flora and
fauna. Thoreau is quoted or mentioned on vir-
tually every page.
Basile, J. L. "Thoreau Pines: Summer, 1969,"
Thoreau Jour. Quart .. 2 (July 15, 1970), 6. Poem.
Borst, Raymond R. "Thoreau's Still-Born Book,"
Twisted Dial . 1 (Sept. 1970) Publication of A
Edel, Leon. "Henry D. Thoreau," in Sherman Paul, ed.,
Six Classic American Writers . Minneapolis: Univ.
• of Minn., 1970. pp. 160-194. A reprint of the
recent Minn, pamphlet. It is a tragedy that such
a medieval view of Thoreau should be perpetuated
by one of our leading university presses. Edel
still approaches Thoreau from the viewpoint of
James Russell Lowell.
Emily Dickinson Bulletin . "Appeal for a Summer An-
nual Pilgrimage." 13 (June, 1970), 47-49. Includes
a history of the founding of the Thoreau Society.
Graham, Lloyd. "Thoreau Early Liberal," Buffalo
[N.Y.] Courier-Express . .Sept 27, 1970.
Harding, Walter. "Henry David Thoreau, Walden, or
Life in the Woods ." in Hennig Cohen, ed., Land -
marks of American Writing . Washington, D.C.:
Voice of America, 1970. pp. 150-1 60.
."Report from Walden," Yankee . 34 (Sept. 1970),
Hoffleit, Dorritt. "Thoreau on Nantucket Island,"
TJQ. 2 (July 15, 1970), 15-16.
Kasegawa, Koh. "Hemingway & Thoreau," Studies in
English & American Literature . [Aoyama Gakuin
Univ., Tokyo] 16 (1970), 1-6. Text in Japanese.
Kirby, David. "Metaphor in the Final Paragraphs of
'The American Scholar' and 'Economy,'" TJQ , 2
(July 15, 1970), 17-18.
Lane, Lauriat Jr. "Finding a Voice: Thoreau's Penta-
meters," Emerson Soc. Quar .. 60 (1970), 67-72.
Nelson, Carl. "Sound Knowledge in Walden ." TJQ , 2
(July 15, 1970), 1-6.
Noverr, D. V. "Thoreau's 'May Morning,"' TJQ , 2
(July 15, 1970), 21. a poem.
Pearson, Norman Holmes. "Thoreau's Walden and Things
Seen" in American Literary Fathers . Kyoto: Apollen-
sha, 1965. pp. 27-35.
Petteys, D. F. "Proem (to H. D. T.), TJQ., 2 (July 15,
1970), 21. A poem.
Rodale, Robert. "Wild Apples over Indianapolis,"
Organic Gardening & Farming . 19 (Oct. 1970), 21-24-
Analysis of Thoreau essay.
Sacramento [Calif.] Bee . "Thoreau's Pond Remains the
Same." June 28, 1970.
Stowell, Robert F. "That Other Drummer," Christian
Science Monitor , Aug. 17. 1970. Poem.
Thoreau, H. D. The Artist of Kouroo . [Harper Woods,
Mich.]: Adagio Press, 1970. 4pp. No. 6 in "The
Collected Ephemera of the Adagio Press. ".A typo-
. A Plea for Captain John Brown . Ithaca, N.I.:
Glad Day Press, , 24pp. "Printed ... for the
Peace & Freedom Party, State Univ. College, Buffalo,
. Walden Wa Hai El Ghabah . Trans, into Arabic by
Amin Mursi. Cairo: Franklin Books, 196?
W[illiems], D. H. "Thoreau and the Art of Walking,"
Cosmos Club Bulletin [Washington, D.C.], 23 (Oct.
We are grateful to the following for information
used in this bulletin: T. Bailey, R. Curran, M.
Campbell, R. Chapman, R. Dickens, J. Donovan, J.
Davies, R. Epler, F. Fenn, F. Flack, L. Graham, D.
Harrison, G. Hasenauer, D. Hannan, C. Hoagland, E.
Hunsaker, J. Jones, B. Klee, D. Kamen-Kaye, K.
Kasegawa, D. McWilliams, A. McGrath, M. Niblock, C.
Orr, P. Oehser, L. Simon, R. Schaedle, R. Stowell,
H. Van Fleet, J. Vickers, S. Wellman, and P. Williams.
Please keep the secretary informed of items he has
missed and new items as they appear.
THE THOREAU SOCIETY ARCHIVES ....
Walden Editions on Display
MAKING PLANS for the display of editions of "Walden" in the Concord Public
Library are Mrs. Edmund Fenn of Concord, Mrs. Marcia Moss of the library staff,
Mrs. Caleb Wheeler of Concord and Anton Kovar of Arlington.
Little by little, over the years, the
Thoreau Society has acquired a col-
lection of pamphlets and
miscellaneous objects kept in a
closet in the Concord Free Public
Library. This week they have been
given space in the enlarged library in
a bookcase in the magazine alcove.
With them an unusual collection of
books went on display. It is a collec-
tion of editions of "Walden" from
the rare first edition up to modern
foreign language translations. In all
the collection occupies four yards of
shelf space and contains 130
Anton Kovar of Arlington, who
made the collection, first became in-
terested in Thoreau in high school
and has been a devoted member of
the Thoreau Society for 25 years,
since he helped Roland Robbins ex-
cavate the house-site at the pond.
Now retired as a public school
teacher in Arlington, he organized an
elementary school orchestra there
and still teaches stringed instru-
Week after week he haunts the
second-hand book stores, sometimes
with good luck, oftener with no luck.
Gradually the dealers began letting
him know when a new
"Walden"came in and he now has all
the out-of-print editions. The rare
ones took longer to find.
Since the copyright lapsed a few
years ago, paper-back and other edi-
tions have multiplied almost beyond
counting but the collection has some
of these as well as all the standard
editions, including the limited
manuscript and several bibliophile
editions. There is one printed in
World War II for the armed forces
which was later withdrawn in the
McCarthy era as possibly sub-
Mr. Kovar is still looking for new
editions but is also interested in As-
At the annual meeting in July the society alloca-
ted five hundred dollars in honor of Mrs. Caleb
Wheeler to the care of the Thoreau Society Archives
in the Concord Free Public Library. With her usual
efficiency Mrs. Wheeler immediately went to work
on the archives, placing everything in acid-free
folders and boxes to prevent deterioration. She
also arranged for the photographing of more than
100 of Thoreau's surveys now in the Concord library
so that scholars using them would no longer have to
handle the original surveys, and for the annotating
of the photographs by Mrs. Marcia Moss, the library's
As Mrs. Wheeler reports: The surveys, as the
library owns them, are in varying sizes up to four
feet and there is danger of tearing them when any-
one looks through them. Of course Thoreau made
many more surveys now scattered in private hands.
The photographs and editors' notes will serve as a
handy index to the originals and a reminder of the
tremendous amount of work turned out by Thoreau, the
surveyor. At the annual meeting, Mrs. Wheeler was
authorized to inquire into the cost of printing.
The cost, she reports, seems prohibitive but if it
ever proves feasible, this work will make them
THE IRA HOOVER FUND
As residual legatee of the estate of the late
Ira Hoover of Wilmington, Delaware, the Thoreau
Society has just received the sum of $6,562.36,
which is being set aside as the "Ira Hoover Fund."
Ira Hoover was long one of the most active mem-
bers of the Thoreau Society, journeying up to Con-
cord for the annual meeting from Philadelphia or
Wilmington, Delaware, as long as he was physically
able. He served a number of terms as a member of
the society's executive committee. One of the
most ardent of Thoreauvians, he published a pam-
phlet tribute to Thoreau in 1917 at the time of
the centennial of Thoreau's birth. A constant
reader of Thoreau's works, he copied out by hand
for a number of his friends 365 of his favorite
quotations from Thoreau as personalized "Thoreau
Calendars." He died on Feb. J+, 1969 at the age of
84.. See Bulletin 107 for a memorial tribute.
A PROTEST AGAINST THE THOREAU SOCIETY'S ANNUAL
MEETING by Charles W. White
[The following resolutions, submitted at the 1970
annual meeting, were ruled out-of-order by the act-
ing president but are herewith published as a mat-
ter of general interest.]
Once again the annual meeting of the Thoreau
Society will emphasize one aspect of Thoreau' s life
and ignore his political and social ideas. With few
exceptions (i.e. the donation of $500.00 in honor of
Cesar Chavez at the last meeting), the annual meet-
ings of past years seem to be out of step with the
Thoreau who speaks so powerfully to the problems of
modern America. There is no great evil in nature
walks, slides of pretty scenes, photography contests
exhibits of Thoreauviana, and flower arrangements.
These activities are harmless enough. But Thoreau
and what he stood for should not be co-opted into
boosterism for the Concord Chamber of Commerce.
Admittedly, Thoreau loved natural landscape.
Woods, ponds, flowers, animals, the blue sky - all
of these moved him to incredible emotion. Perhaps
he could have gotten more from an afternoon with a
woodchuck than most men could from a whole night
with Cleopatra. However, as a transcendental! st
Thoreau understood that nature was primarily a ve-
hicle, not an end in itself, through which he could
achieve moral insights. And for him, morality usually
led to commitment and action. Where is the morality
of the Thoreau Society in 1970? What are its commit-
ments? In "Civil Disobedience" Thoreau wrote, "If
I had known how to name them, I should then have
signed off in detail from all the societies which
Expressly for Electrotyping,
I never signed on to; but I did not know where to
find a complete list." If he were alive today,
would he sign off from the Thoreau Society?
Before we completely become a House-and-Garden
Club, the Thoreau Society should seek redemption
in the following manner:
(1) We should pass a formal resolution condemning
United States' policy of intervention in Southeast
Asia and call for immediate withdrawal of all our
troops from that ravaged land. Are tl^ere not enough
parallels between the Viet Nam War and the Mexican
War of 184.6-47? The Massachusetts Democratic Party
(not a particularly progressive group) at their
recent convention urged the immediate return of
American /soldiers from Viet Nam. Can a society that
bears the name of Henry David Thoreau do less?
(2) We should condemn our elected officials in
Washington for tolerating and, in fact, encouraging
the continued persecution of Black Americans. When
Thoreau delivered a defense for Captain John Brown
and an attack on slavery at the Concord Town Hall
on October 30, 1859, the local populace did not
support him. Even the town abolitionists thought
his action "inadvisable." But Thoreau spoke anyway
- not because it was popular, but because it was
right. How many descendants of those nineteenth
century Concordians and the rest of white America
by action or apathy still work against the 400-
year-old struggle by black people for equality?
(3) We should actively fight those who are des-
troying our environment. We should never forget
those numerous passages in Walden that attack a
system which brutalizes man and rapes nature. It is
of little comfort to take walks in Concord and en-
virons, looking at a few splendid scenes, while Bos-
ton and every other major American city is covered
with soot and overflowing with garbage. Instead of
having photography contests, the members of the
Thoreau Society might better spend their time demon-
strating en masse at the business office of some
major polluter - Coca Cola, Boston Edison, take your
The Thoreau Society should not become a group of
effete intellectual snobs (to coin a phrase), but
should join the "peaceable revolution" that Thoreau
urged in "Civil Disobedience." As he said, "Cast
your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but
your whole influence . "
AN ANALYSIS OF THOREAU 'S HANDWRITING, by Lynn and
At the suggestion of Clayton Hoagland of Ruther-
ford, N.J., his friends Lynn and Bill Lee, profes-
sional New York graphologists, have submitted the
following analysis of Thoreau' s handwriting.
Doing an analysis of Henry David Thoreau posed
difficulties beyond the evaluations of contempories,
known or unknown, since history, through its dis-
torting lensy, creates legends difficult to refute.
Could we, as gestalt graphologists, concentrate
entirely on his script, ignoring the wealth of in-
formation available, and develop a psychological
impression of Thoreau the man? This was the first
question we asked ourselves when the intriguing
idea of an analysis was presented. We could and
did, as the following paragraphs will reveal, even
when this meant contradicting known material.
Space limitation preclude a complete characteriza-
tion, therefore, we concentrated on his drives and
portrayed not what he was, but why.
In the days of the steel nib pen, when ball points
were unthought of and felt tip pens not even a dream,
Thoreau was able to write with amazing speed. This
directly relates to the fantastic tempo of his physi-
cal, emotional and mental actions and reactions. He
had an inordinate amount of drive and follow-through,
and, this speed factor coupled with the extreme con-
nectedness of his writing revealed certain facets
of his make-up. He controlled any situation he
found himself in, either by force or by logic and
reason. Moreover, he enjoyed friction and needed
resistance to be at his best, so much so, that if
none existed he would create it. He loved to buck
the system, to fight and change his environment.
His script was highly unconventional, testifying
to the extreme creativity of the writer, therefore,
the presence of the lack-lustre conventional "I" is
indicative of the conflict between self -perception
and life reality. Society really not understanding
his genius and his protective answer, his tendency to
treat himself as more average than he really was.
Thoreau wrote an arcadian linear hand composed
of angles and thread, without a trace of the soften-
ing garland. He pinpointed himself as the strong
minded individualist, the non-conformist disinclined
to yield, the man who sought to impose his will upon
the environment. It also reveals, along with other
factors, his frequent shutting out of the world and
most of its people.
The degree of slant represents the degree to which
the ego inclines towards its objective, hence the
degree of communicativeness. Thoreau's slant, if
coupled with large writing, would indicate a greg-
arious individual, expansive and flamboyant. But
as it is, with almost illegible words, it indicates
an individual guarding against becoming a prey to
the demands of society. There is a desire for the
company and love of others overcome by a distrust
and perhaps even a fear of outsiders.
There was a basic inner conditioning of creative
talent, especially music (his writing is similar
in many respects to that of Beethoven) which leads
to the thought that he might have inclined his genius
to composing if cqnditions had been different.
His was a affirmative philosophy of life strug-
gling with depression. He refused to be chained to
rigid and traditional rules and concepts.
He had a spontaneous understanding of others and
could grasp a conclusion before the thought was half
completed. This led to an impatience with those
whose mind needed explanations and a sarcastic,
sometimes brutal tongue. He was not above using his
shrewd and cunning mind to gain his objective, nor
laying traps for the unwary to prove a point. He
was original, prophetic and crammed full of rebel-
lious energy. He also had an extreme need to control
finances-which definitely influenced his life style.
Creative people are especially observant and they
value accurate observation, telling themselves the
truth more than other people do . They are indep-
endent in their cognition, and also value clearer
cognition. They will suffer great personal pain to
testify correctly. They are motivated to tiis value
and to the exercise of this talent, both for self-
preservation and in the interest of human culture
and its future. Their universe is thus more complex-
and in addition, they usually lead more complex lives,
seeking tension in the interest of the pleasure they
obtain upon its discharge.
Both more primitive and more cultured, more des-
tructive and more constructive, crazier and saner
than the average person. So was Henry David Thoreau.
Lynn and Bill Lee
by John C. Broderick
On June U, 1970, at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in
New York City, Charles Hamilton Galleries held its
4.2nd auction. The catalog described many manuscripts
and memorabilia offered, some of exceptional lit-
erary and historical significance, some merely cur-
iosities. (Among the latter are numerous checks made
out by Jack Ruby to Running Creek Kennels, "probably
for the care of Ruby's dogs, of whom he was very
The eye of the true Thoreauvian, however, is cer-
tain to be caught by item 139, a 37-page manuscript
diary kept by the actor Errol Flynn while on a "re-
cruiting expedition" among the natives of New Guinea
in 1933. Since the catalog devotes more than half
a page to describing the diary, one need not own or
consult it to have some notion of its contents.
Flynn discloses his place in several different lit-
erary traditions by devoting his diary to 1) a manual
on the "Art of Seduction, " 2) complaints against
Lutheran missionaries, 3) an account of an attack
by leeches while he was, swimming. Of these, per-
haps only the attack on the missionaries has the
authentic Thoreauvian ring.
"Towards the end" of the diary, however, the cat-
alog tells us, "Flynn records his philosophy of
life." Encountering the quotations from this por-
tion of the diary, one is forced to acknowledge
Flynn as a great stylist, in prose as well as other-
...I am going to China because I wish to live de-
liberately....! am leaving of economic necessity
...to front the essentials of life, to see if I
can learn what life has to teach and above all
not to discover, when I come to die, that I have
not lived... I am going... to acknowledge not one
of the so called social forces which hold our
lives in thrall & reduce us to economic depend-
ency. The best part of life is spent in earning
money in order to enjoy a questionable liberty
during the least valuable part of it. To hell
with money 1... I am going to live. . .Spartan life
..I refuse to accept the ideology of a business
world which believes that man at hard labour is
the noblest work of God...
The catalog entry concludes: "A fascinating original
journal, capturing the spirit of a man who lived life
truly, with an independence achieved by few. " There
can be no question of Flynn' s independence of many
"so called social forces," but readers of Walden
may well doubt the originality and independence of
But all this may be unfair. Perhaps the original
diary indicates, as the catalog does not, FLynn's
acknowledgement of indebtedness to Henry Thoreau.
Perhaps Flynn, in his work in New Guinea, used as
hi s manual , The Service . Or Qualities of the Recrui t. "
In any event, it is well worth having one more evi-
dence of Thoreau's 20th-century outreach, ancj so
colorful a one at that. After all, what could be
more su/Ltable than going to China to live deliber-
ately? Didn't Thoreau himself propose at Walden
Pond ^bo open trade with the Celestial Empire? The
ramifications are endless. Perhaps Thoreau's known
fondness for the Robin Hood ballads predisposed Flynn
to accept one of his most famous film roles.
So here's to Errol Flynn, Thoreauvian, who spent
a lifetime fronting the essential facts of life.
FLynn's journal sold for $160.
'The dating may be in error. According to Who' s
Who in America (various volumes), Flynn became a
patrol,, officer in the New Guinea Government Service
in 1929- In 1932 he joined the Hong Kong Volunteers.
^Charles Hamilton Auction Catalog No. 4-2 (New York,
1970), p. 33.
THOREAU AND GEORGE STURT: A COMMENTARY BY JOHN DAVIES
[Editor's note: John Davies was for many years a
close associate of Henry Salt, the English biographer
of Thoreau. Now 86, he is retired and lives in
Broad stairs, Kent, England.]
I was arrested by your notice of George Sturt on
the current "Bulletin" and by your quotation from
his recently published Journals.
His psychological analysis of the relationship
between Thoreau, the leisured man of letters and
deep thought, and the Canadian Woodchopper, the
unlettered, unsophisticated, childlike son of manual
toil is, to use your apt word "perceptive" and true.
The quality that this ill-assorted pair had in common
was the spontaneous joy of life; not arising from
any favourable circumstance but just the satisfaction
of being alive, nowadays sometimes observed in child-
ren; not elsewhere. "There were times when I could
not afford to sacrifice the bloom of the present
moment to any work.... I sat in my sunny doorway from
sunrise to noon. I grew at these seasons like corn
in the night" There is no mention of being deep in
thought and the inference is that, in the manner of
the Easjtern mystics, thought ceased at these times
and the mind was i still . Who amongst us nowadays would
be capable of just sitting with no other satisfaction
or occupation than just being alive?
It is clear that George Sturt writing as George
Browne, had ,a deep and original understanding of the
essential Thoreau. "There is no man who speaks to
me through his books so intimately as Thoreau."
One can go all the way with him in that.
I recollect Henry Salt's referring perhaps more
than once to George Sturt, no doubt in connection
with the mutual Thoreau interest, but I cannot recol-
lect the tenor of Henry's observation. They may
have visited each other when the Salts lived at
Tilden Surrey not far from Durham. Might it be that
the two men did not see eye to eye in their appraisal
of Thoreau, Salt ' s approval being from the point of
view of literature and Sturt' s from that of medita-
tive vision. Sturt 's observation on reading Salt's
Life of Thoreau "Salt .... is vastly sympathetic...
as far as he can follow Thoreau" seems significant.
It must be remembered, however, that besides Thoreau,
Salt wrote of those kindred spirits, Shelley and
Richard Jeffries whose literary expression like
Thoreau' s often reaches the verge where verbalisa-
tion trembles on the brink of mystical insight.
Sturt 's comment "But by carefully observing in
one's own present life every circumstance that as-
sists or hinders consecutive thought it might be
possible to throw much light on the obscurity," is
a comment on the ancient text "Know Yourself" and
in the true spipit of Thoreau 's withdrawn insight.
THOREAU AND ANTHONY HECHT by Joseph McElrath
On February 25, 1970, Pulitzer Prize winning poet
Anthony Hecht gave a reading at the State University
College, Brockport, New York. I had the good for-
tune to dine with him before the reading, and since
I knew he was just finishing a new translation of
Aeschylus' Seven Against Thebes , I asked him if he
had read Thoreau' s translation of that work. He
had not, but he immediately began talking about The
Maine Woods . During the past summer he had gone to
Rome to work on his translation, and had brought
with him a copy of The Maine Woods , "to have a re-
minder of the American landscape with me." In fact,
he told me that I would find "a bit of Thoreau" in
a poem about the New England landscape that he had
composed in Rome.
At a party after the reading, we resumed our con-
versation and he praised Walden and Cape Cod , par-
ticularly the latter for its depiction of the rugged
sea coast. The Maine Woods came up again, and I asked
him what he thought of Thoreau' s "cosmic scare"
atop Mount Ktaadn. He did not consider it as a
moment in which Thoreau' s transcendental view of
nature was seriously upset — as some critics have in-
sisted — but found it reminiscent of Kant's and Burke's
description of the experience of the "Sublime" —
whereby nature, "tamed" by man supposedly, suddenly
overwhelms an individual.
State Univ. of N. I. : Brockport
NOTES AND QUERIES
Cartoonist Dahl of the Boston Herald Traveler con-
tinues his series of anti -pollution cartoons of
Thoreau revisiting Cape Cod with one in the issue of
Sept. 1, 1970.
The Big Little Store, 1671 Washington St., San
Francisco, sells buttons with Thoreau' s name and
portrait (from the postage stamp) for 250 each,
5/$1.00, 50/$5.00 or 125 for $10.00.
The Society for the Protection of N. H. Forests,
58 State St., Concord, N. H. , sells post cards fea-
turing a Thoreau quotation, "I long for Wildness..."
for $1.50 for two dozen.
Where is Thoreau' s famous quotation concerning
circumstantial evidence — the trout in the milk?
Most books of quotations cite the Journal Nov. 11,
1 854-, but it does not seem to be there.
Mary Sherwood has recently presented to the Thoreau
Society Archives a copy of her pamphlet on Joe Polis.
A Handel sman cartoon in the Sept. 19, 1970 Sat .
Rev , shows two elite looking gentlemen watching a
street riot from the windows of their club and
asking, "Why can't they lead lives of quiet despera-
tion like the rest of us?"
The University of Maine and the Thoreau Fellowship
are jointly sponsoring a drive to raise funds for a
proposed Thoreau Center of Ecological Studies on
the Orono campus.
Proposals have been made for a planned community
of 15,000 people near Pineville, N.C., to be named,
of all things, "Walden." The developers said the
name was chosen to reflect "a quiet dignity and
beautiful serenity — a fine type of living." Houses
will cost a minimum of $50,000. The project will
also include a large shopping center, a country club
and more than sixty acres of office buildings!
According to the ATLANTIC MONTHLY for October,
1969 (p. 131), the late Edward R. Murrow kept hang-
ing on the wall of his CBS office the quotation from
Thoreau, "It takes two to speak the truth — one to
speak and another to hear."
The May, 1970, issue of LIBERTY: A MAGAZINE OF
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM entitles its lead article by
Richard H. Utt on conscientious objectors "to the
beat of a different drummer."
An article by Allen R. Dodd in the June 13, 1970
issue of SATURDAY REVIEW on living the simple life
is entitled, "Okay, Thoreau, We Know You're in
There . "
A Note by the editor in the March 1970 issue of
WILLIAM FEATHER MAGAZINE comments:
After reflecting on his life and observations,
I have concluded that most men are something like
Thoreau, and are dissatisfied with what we know
as civilization. They would like to be vagrants,
more or less irresponsible. They resent the neces-
sity of hustling and scheming and toiling to pay for
a lot of things and a lot of activity they neither
need nor enjoy.
Why don't they quit as Thoreau did?
The answer is women. Thoreau, remember, had no
women around him. Most men do.
There is no moral to be drawn from this conclu-
sion. The world is happier and better fed because
men are not allowed to slump as did Thoreau. But
the credit belongs to the women.
MORE DOCTORAL DISSERTATIONS ON THOREAU.
With the permission of the University of Microfilms
of Ann Arbor, Mich. , we continue printing herewith
reproductions of abstracts of dissertations on Thoreau.
The full dissertations are available from University-
Microfilms at the prices given at the ends of the
FROST AND THOREAU: A STUDY IN AFFINITIES.
(Order No. 69-3231)
Lyle Donovon Domina, Ph.D.
University of Missouri, Columbia, 1968
Supervisor: Dr. Roger K. Meiners
Although a few critics have posited Henry David Thoreau
as a conscious influence on Robert Frost, the purpose of this
study is to demonstrate a significant set of affinities in the
thought and attitudes of the two men. For this reason the study
goes beyond the Walden that Frost is known to have admired
and examines Thoreau' s thought wherever it may be found in
his published works. The study is concerned with the literature
of the two men; biographical parallels are noted only in passing.
The method of the study is to examine, first of all, the "New
England mind" as it develops in the Puritans; this mind set is
then traced into the twentieth century through such writers as
Emerson, Dickinson, and Robinson. Because in recent years
such emphasis has been placed on the pessimistic side of
Frost, and because Thoreau is generally thought of as highly
optimistic, the study examines Frost's optimism and Thoreau's
In comparing their attitudes toward life, one finds that
both Frost and Thoreau found it necessary to withdraw to a
position from which they could look in both directions. They
withdrew to a position between man and nature, for example,
and between spirit and matter because they were determined
to see the proper relationship between the pairs. At the same
time, their retreat provided them with a set of significant
experiences as a basis for determining the nature of life. In
this insistence on experience, and in the manner in which each
becomes unequal to the task, the two men show their participa-
tion in the Romantic frame of mind.
The attitudes which Frost and Thoreau shared, moreover,
found similar expression in their work. Both created a myth-
ical country and a mythical hero seeking wisdom in that
country. The mythical and Romantic quest, however, is
domesticated to New England; hence the quest is "reduced"
to the mundane activity of going for a walk.
In this trope of the walk, then, the artistic attitudes and
techniques of each writer become fused. It allows them the
careful examination of the thing-in-itself that is so important
to them; at the same time it allows each writer to bring in
the spiritual and religious overtones which they find equally
important. Both Frost and Thoreau are committed to the
view that life is a process, and the walk is perfectly adapted
to expressing this attitude. Finally, the leisurely process of
walking demonstrates their common technique of proceeding
slowly and indirectly to the moment of insight; hence it pro-
sides a structural unity for their works which has sometimes
thought to be lacking.
The significance of this study lies in its picture of literary
continuity, its truly three dimensional view of the thought of
each man, and a fresh insight into what they were attempting
in their work: and it resolves, or at least confronts, the
dichotomies that critics have sometimes found in their writ-
ings. M $3.15: X $11.05. 243 pages.
Three broad aspects of the relationship emerge from this
study. Thoreau is seen as the fulfillment of Emerson's prin-
cipal ideas--the new type of scholar-hero, the enlightened, self-
reliant individual Emerson had called for in his earliest writ-
ings. But he was also the complement of Emerson's personality.
A continuing, mutual influence is demonstrated. Thoreau, by
his fulfillment of Emerson's doctrine, confirmed Emerson's
faith in the truth and applicability of his ideas, and it was by
his own striking individuality that he was able to accomplish
this. Finally, as Emersonianism did not encourage anyone to
remain a disciple, so, at the very period of his finest embodi-
ment of Emerson's essential ideas, Thoreau began (with tragic
consequences) to break free from the domination of Emerson's
The treatment is primarily chronological, only occasionally
thematic. The human, psychological dimension in their rela-
tionship is vital and basic to everything else, and could best be
shown by beginning where their story as friends began.
Chapter I emphasizes Emerson's magnetic personality, for
it was Thoreau's love for and identification with Emerson as a
man that preceded his acceptance of Emerson's principles. It
finds overwhelming evidence of Thoreau's unlimited emulation
of Emerson on the level of personality, and this creative identi-
fication is justified on psychological, religious, and classical
Chapter II is concerned with Thoreau's early impact on
Emerson--as great writer in embryo, as potential hero, as
the American Scholar. Emerson's journal, letters, conversa-
tions, testify to the great impression Thoreau made on him,
and his writings of 1840-41, particularly, show clear signs of
Thoreauvian influence, especially when he is setting forth the
ideal of the heroic truth-seeker--Man as Reformer.
Chapter in shows how Thoreau's identification with Emer-
son on the personal level was reflected on the intellectual.
From the beginning his work reveals the all-pervasive influ-
ence of Emerson on his thinking, even as his own originality
of character remained intact.
Chapter IV covers the years 1841-43, when their friendship,
evidenced in numerous ways, was at its height: Thoreau lived
in Emerson's house, The Dial was being published, Emerson
introduced Thoreau to Hindu philosophy, they shared many ex-
periences (including tragic ones), Thoreau followed Emerson's
steps as a lecturer, idolized Emerson's wife. Their writings
on Friendship are examined, and entries in Thoreau's journal
on friendship are shown to be pointing almost always to
Chapter V studies the Walden years, when Thoreau devel-
oped the Emersonian life to its logical conclusion. The two
men are seen in continuing harmony, but at the end of the
period Thoreau emerged a stronger individual than ever, al-
ready half-liberated from the bonds of his discipleship.
Chapter VI analyzes the hidden crisis in their relationship
and focuses on "Civil Disobedience" --which is seen as a sym-
bolic expression of Thoreau's compulsion to be free of the
sage's domination—and on the many disillusioning letters
Emerson wrote from England that reflect tendencies toward
worldliness and "socializing."
Chapter VII sees the post- 1848 period as one of increasing
strain, and finds the change reflected in their writings. In their
journals the course of their disintegrating friendship is graph-
ically portrayed. Thoreau turns to mostly barren studies of
Nature in compensation, as Emerson becomes more and more
a man of the world.
Chapter VIII gives an evaluative summary of the whole
story and its chief significances.
Microfilm $5.05; Xerography $17.80. 393 pages.
"If not good, why then evil,
If not good god, good devil.
•Goodness!' You hypocrite, come out of that,
Live your life, do your work, then take your
hat." — HDT
THE INNER DYNAMICS OF THE EMERSON -
(Order No. 67-13,301)
Paul Hourihan, Ph.D.
Boston University Graduate School, 1967
"We must learn to rewaken and keep ourselves
awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite
expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us
in our soundest sleep." Walden — HDT
THOREAU IS HARVARD GRADUATION SONG.
Major Professor: Kingsbury Badger
Emerson and Thoreau were the two great minds of their age
in America. Closely related for many years, sharing intimate
experiences, they would have recognized one another's special
quality as no one else could have. A study of the inner dynamics
of their personal relationship would be of great importance in
understanding their intellectual relationship. But such an in-
vestigation has never been undertaken.
We are indebted to Mrs. Thomas McGrath of Concord,
Massachusetts for providing us with a copy of this
hitherto imprinted song written for Thoreau's Har-
vard Class of 1837 by his classmate John Weiss. Can
you imagine Thoreau lifting "the sparkling bumpers
high a full libation [to] pour"? (OVER)
"^ n x>
I" 1 "C: r 77<
SENIOR CLASS OF 1837.
JOHN WEISS, Jr., Worcester, Mass.
Tune, — "Auld Lang Syne."
How faintly on the midnight air
The parting echoes float ;
In vain we touch the harp, its chords
Return no wonted note.
Deep sorrow clouds the youthful brow,
And dimmed is every eye
That flashed so brightly when the heart
And cup were mantling high.
We gaze upon the hallowed spot,
The well-known scenes recall,
And sigh to think the dream is past,
So sweet, so dear to all.
Deep sorrow clouds the youthful brow,
And dimmed is every eye
That flashed so brightly when the heart
And cup were mantling high.
Yet friends must feel 't is sad to part ;
The brightest dream must fade ;
But memory keeps the treasure safe
From dark oblivion's shade.
Then strike the harp to gayer strains ;
What though the dream has flown?
We hail with joy the heavenly power
That makes the past our own.
Each bosom kindles at the thought ;
Why mourn we for the past ?
£4 If part we must, fill high the cup,
¥1 Bo merry to the last.
Then fill the cup, and raise the song
In rapture to the skies ;
Each moment, with the wine we pour,
Must sparkle as it flies.
Bring forth the festal harp that once
To notes of gladness rung ;
And pour the mirth-inspiring wine
Its golden chords among.
Then lift the sparkling bumpers high,
A full libation pour ;
the glittering chords we strike, ©
Sound plaintively no more. @
We pledge the blushing goblet round,
In friendship's sacred name ;
While brighter yet the crystal gleams
With memory's quickening flame.
Fill high, for Bacchus crowns the cup ;
Like flowers of rosy hue,
The nectar shines amid the leaves
■He scatters to our view.
If sorrow be our future lot,
This parting glass will throw
Its radiance through the gathering gloom,
And banish all our woe.
If pleasure fills the goblet up,
Our joy will brighter shine,
Reflected from the glass we quaff
To days of "Auld Lang Syne."